Ver. 1. Vain. Sept. "foolish by nature, who are ignorant of God." H.
--- In this and the three following chapters, the miseries of idolatry are described, to shew the value of wisdom and piety. C.
--- Without the knowledge of God, all is darkness. 1 Cor. ii. 2. S. Just. dial.
--- Is. He who is, must be the most proper name of God. Ex. iii. 14. Philosophers could perceive that all creatures had a beginning, and that there must be some first cause or God, whom some confessed, but did not honour as they ought. Rom. i. W.
--- Could not. Inasmuch as they were vain. H.
Ver. 2. Fire. The chief god of the Persians.
--- Wind. Zephyrus, &c.
--- Air. Which is perhaps the wind. Socrates was accused of adoring nothing, but heaven and the clouds, (Aristot. nub.) as the Jews were. Nil præter nubes et Cœli numen adorant. Juv. xiv. 97.
--- Stars. The zodiac, or pleiads. This species of idolatry was most ancient and general.
--- Water. The ocean, Neptune, &c. The Egyptians adored water above all, as the origin of other things. Hence they were punished first by it. Philo, vit. Mor. 1.
--- Moon. These were mostly the objects of worship, under the names of Baal, Astarte, (C.) the Phœbus, or Dianæ of the Romans. H.
Ver. 5. Thereby. God is announced by the heavens, and by all creatures. Ps. xviii. 1. Rom. i. 20. "Who can look up to heaven, and be so foolish as not to allow that there is a God?" Cic. Harusp.
Ver. 10. Of men. The pagans in general took the material statue to be the residence of a god. S. Aug. de Civ. Dei. C. vii. 6. and viii. 13.
--- The more learned regarded the figures of the sun, &c. as his representations, while others supposed that Jupiter meant the heavens, Juno the air, Vulcan, fire, &c.
--- Hand. This is to abuse antiquity. The idol of the Arabs was a rough stone. In more polished nations, the workmanship of Praxiteles, Phidias, &c. was more regarded. C.
--- As no creature deserves to be esteemed a god, much less do the works of men's hands. W.
Ver. 14. Vermilion. The ancients greatly esteemed this colour, (C.) and painted with it the statues of their gods on festival days, and the bodies of those who had the honour of a triumph. Pliny, xxxiii. 6.
Ver. 15. Iron. Baruch (vi. 26.) ridicules the same custom, and the other prophets intimate that the pagans took these statues to be really gods, otherwise their practice was no more blameable than that of the Jews, who fastened the cherubim to the ark with gold, and carried them. But the latter did not believe that the Deity resided personally in those images; no more that we do, that Christ is attached to his image on the cross. This distinguishes the behaviour of the faithful from that of pagans. C.